As I look around me today, I see my life in all its colors. But, there seems to be a film noir running in the background of my mind, and I hear a faint clickity-clack as the movie reel turns.
Some familiar scene, object or event triggers my memory to push forward – out of storage. Sometimes the faded image comes with a gentle nudge; sometimes it is like an electrical current that lights up the sky. The moment passes almost too quickly for me to make sense of it – like a fleeting dream you struggle to recall.
I try to remember to live in the present moment – an important lesson learned after my husband’s death. When I do, the day arrives in full color. But these triggers bring me back to the past and my memory starts playing clickity-clack in the background. One foot in the present moment, one foot going back into a remembrance from another day. My breathing almost stops when I get caught up in both these worlds.
At other times, it feels like déjà vu. I know that I have experienced something like this before, but where and when? Although the memories are recalled in black and white, they are allowing me to remember things long stored away. I believe that grief is finally letting me to draw back its curtains so that I can recall and experience the precious times that I shared with my husband.
I am so grateful that these memories are flooding in ~ instead of the ones that have replayed over and over in my head since my husband’s death in 2009. The painful images of our last year together, fighting to keep Marty alive, blocked me from being able to recollect treasured events that took place in our 42-year marriage. The horrific images that persisted and haunted me were of my husband’s decline; our determination to beat his illness, each frightening trip to the hospital’s emergency unit, the knowing look in Marty’s eyes as he physically began to fade away, and of my frenzied attempts to hold our world together ~ to keep my husband from dying, from leaving me.
Snapshots of my life with Marty are slowly returning. They are fleeting and come about at unexpected moments – but they are emerging and coming to life once again. Sometimes these memories are bittersweet; but often times they are delicious and make me smile from my heart.
The Navajo Indians believe our lives are lived in cycles. When the sun goes down, it is a time to reflect – to see if we are on the right path. They believe that a new sun is born every day and that we must hold each new day sacred. As night falls, I now understand why my memories fade into black and white with shades of grey. Because ~ I am meant to experience the radiant colors that each sacred day brings forth!
Laurel D. Rund 2011